Tuesday 3 November 2020 7:08 am

Oil slip: Aramco profit halves as Covid batters oil demand

Oil behemoth Saudi Aramco’s profit shrank 44.6 per cent in the third quarter due to the collapse in oil demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The state-owned firm said profit fell from 79.8 billion riyals (£16.5bn) last year to 44.21 billion riyals this year.

The pandemic has devastated the global oil market, with lower prices and declining production rates due to restrictions on travel and economic activity.

Aramco also said that weaker refining and chemicals margins also hit the company’s net profit.

However, the firm will still pay out a $18.75bn for the third quarter of the year, in line with its plan to pay a base dividend of $75bn for 2020.

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Chief executive Amin Nasser said: “We saw early signs of a recovery in the third quarter due to improved economic activity, despite the headwinds facing global energy markets.”

However, the pick up could be shortlived, with many countries beginning to bring in more restrictions to handle a second wave of infections.

The UK, France, and Germany have all put new lockdowns in place in a bid to control the rate of infection.

Global oil prices have slipped below $40 in the last week, leading to fears that prices could collapse as they did back in April.